Shoot what you love…

Shoot what you love… That’s what they tell you. Someone told me it when I first started shooting. I’m not sure who told me that, maybe it was one of my lecturers, maybe someone else. Come to think of it, maybe I just read it somewhere. I’m really not sure, but that’s not the point…

In my day to day life, throughout the years I have worked with hundreds of models and actors etc, capturing their portrait. But as much as I have enjoyed every single shoot, my very favourite person to photograph is my wife Emma. I think a lot of it is because, obviously, I now her so well. I already have a connection with and I already know what will work really well and what might not work so well. I think comfort comes into play here too. I’m comfortable enough to ask Emma to do anything for a shoot and she’s comfortable enough with me to do it. It instantly knocks down boundaries. She has seen, and lived with my frustration first hand when I haven’t quite got the “the shot”. She understands how much it plays on my mind, how much it bothers me. That’s why I think she’s always patient with me while I’m shooting her. She understands I have a vision for the aesthetic of the shot, and she’ll work tirelessly to make sure we achieve it.

I bet if I had to pick the favourite 50 portraits I’ve ever taken, at least half (and probably more) would be of Emma. She has soaked herself in fake blood, hung around town centres at 2.00am, got drunk and even pretended to murder me, all for the sake of my photography. The most recent shots I took of her, are the ones above – taken on a rare sunny afternoon. The ‘Model’ t shirt is really apt, as I’m pretty sure she’s probably been photographed a lot more than a lot of professional models.

I already can’t wait for our next shoot…

For my next trick I’ll need a volunteer…

I made a decision a few days ago… For years now I’ve been shooting models, not just for standard portraiture work but for my conceptual work too. I’ve decided recently, that rather than models I’m now going to try and shoot my conceptual work with actors and actresses.

My favourite work to produce is work that has a narrative. Images that offer a glimpse of a story. For me that’s why it makes complete sense to work with actors. Because that’s exactly what they want to achieve. They are natural born story tellers. They will understand what I mean by emotion. By fear, sadness or confusion. They’ll get it immediately because it’s something that is asked of them every day.

I have a few ideas for new shots I want to create, and they are very much what I’d describe as “narrative shots”. Where as I’d normally work with a model I know or have worked with before, or post a casting call on Model Mayhem, I have this time decided to post the casting call on ‘Star Now’ and specifically seek out male and female actors. So far I’ve had lots of casting submissions from people, so I can’t wait to get started! As part of this series we are also going to be creating some YouTube exclusive, behind the scenes videos, which will include interviews with everyone involved as well as footage of the actual shoot.

I’m really hoping this will start a new chapter in my creative work, and I hope you all enjoy the images as I come to share them…

Thanks for reading. Fade to black…

Photography as a memory.

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When photography is your day to day “job” I think it becomes increasingly difficult at times to remember one of it’s most important uses; the ability to capture time and create a memory.

In a few short weeks myself and my girlfriend will be married, selfies aside I have very few (deliberate) pictures of us together that I really love, because after the completion of commissions, traveling and the general burden of day to day life, I often never get around to setting shots up. I get home and my camera is packed away until the next job.

I’m starting to make a real conscious effort to change this, because I want to remember this time in an artistic way. I want to look back in ten, twenty years time and remember what we looked like, what we wore, what our apartment was like etc. I want to remember the details. I want to have proof of them.

Although the photograph above is “staged” and stylized it is very ‘us’. This is how we hang out, this is what we do. This is our house. These are all of the details that I want printed in my memory.

I’ve tried these personal projects before, and honestly most of the time I have failed miserably, but I intend to start “creating” a photograph of the two of us once a week. Some of them I will post, some of them will remain private. But I’ll have them. To keep. To remember. To check. To look back on when tomorrow becomes yesterday.

Creative Context…

The Girl and The Stag by Carl Beebee
‘The Girl & The Stag’ by Carl Beebee. Taken from Instagram.

Just a very brief note with a little news…

Very pleased to say that this week I have signed a contract to write and release a theory book. The book ‘Photography Philosophy & Creative Context’ will be available to buy next year. In all honesty I’m a little daunted by the task in hand – and the idea of writing 30,000 words is terrifying me… But dammit, we’ll give it a good go… I’ll keep posting updates on here and maybe a few snippets of the writing to get a little feedback off you good people.

Ok, on a completely separate note – as far as my Facebook goes I have now all but given up on using my ‘page’ as any kind of worthwhile tool. It seems other than sponsored posts things aren’t really seen from other pages. I’m concentrating on using Instagram more now – both for personal bits and work related things. So please give me a follow on there http://www.instagram.com/carlbeebee (@carlbeebee)

As ever – thanks very much for reading. It is very much appreciated.

See you on the road.

Carl.

Bro&Brew

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Bro&Brew has now launched – if you’re an artist or writer please head to the site and go to the SUBMIT page if you’d like to have your work featured…

For my part – I’m going to be shooting a new model each month for the online version of the magazine. Above is 2 images from my first shoot with model Phoenix Ra.

Please go check out the site – it’s still a work in progress but any feedback would be greatly received.

www.broandbrew.com

Film Stills and Philosophy. Blogging ain’t easy….

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Ok, ok, ok… So first off I need to apologise for the recent absence of my blog. I seem to spend all my time either too busy to blog or simply not motivated enough to. Hence – blogging ain’t easy.

I have, however, been working on a couple of projects recently. ‘Trash Tuesday – The Film Stills’ will go live on my website within the next couple of weeks. There’s a taster image above but in total there will be approximately 20 images in the collection. I wanted to something a little different, and I have to say I’m really pleased with the results. Each image represents a single frame from a film – It is not the intention of the images to offer any answers. I am much more concerned with the questions.

Starting next month I’ll be writing a fortnightly column for a magazine – although each column will be about photography don’t expect any tech info or testing etc. The column will completely be the philosophy of photography, my experiences within the industry and other rants and rumblings. They’re not going to be to everybody’s taste and I don’t mind that – but I’ll be posting them on here anyway. I hope some of you enjoy them and partake in the conversation via the comments section…

As always, thanks for reading.

The Un-United Kingdom

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‘The Un-United Kingdom – 2003 by Carl Beebee.

I created this photograph 11 years ago and it seems fitting to post it today considering on this day the fate of a nation and a “United Kingdom” will be decided.

This piece of work was originally titled ‘Jack’ but was part of a series for exhibitions called the ‘Un-United Kingdom’.

The majority of people mis-read the concept of the photograph completely. Admittedly this could be my fault for not explaining well enough but lots of people considered it to be unpatriotic – it was even once deemed “racist”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believed at the time (and still believe) that collectively as a nation we need to reclaim nationalism from the right wing extremists…

I guess if nothing else it serves to remind me that at times it really is best to explain the meaning/concept behind a particular piece or series of work.

Film, Polaroids & The Digital Revolution.

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Double Exposed Polaroid 600 – Circa. 2000.

Nearly everything I shoot these days is in digital because let’s face it; it’s easier, cheaper, quicker and often (usually) more commercially viable. Bridge cameras, DSLR’s and iPhones have all helped bring the digital revolution to the forefront of photography. It’s nothing new. But it leaves me cold. More people than ever now take photographs. This is a good thing I realise but I think it takes away the love of it all. I realise I’m probably not explaining this too well but there is something so unique, and so special about shooting with a film or Polaroid camera.

I’ve recently moved house, and this gave me a great excuse and to sort through boxes and boxes of 35mm negatives and exposed Polaroids. I looked through them all, and they just seem to hold so much more substance. They are real. Printed in front of me. There is in my opinion an art to them which will forever elude digital photography. 

I’m aware there are many photographers that still shoot in film, but in truth it’s not something I do enough of and I need to change that. I need to feel like a “photographer” again and in my humble opinion shooting with film is such a large part of that.

I decided that I needed some personal projects to work with to use film again so I started to look through the internet to gather some inspiration. I came across a great article on fstoppers.com by David Geffin titled ‘Why I’ve gone back to shooting film, and why you should too’ It essentially told me what I already felt and I found myself nodding in agreement as he suggested that our DSLR’s have “turned us into the equivalent of photographic sloths”

I then watched a film which I had been meaning to watch for a while called ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ who was a Nanny in America but had a somewhat secretive life as a street photographer. I’d urge anyone with an interest in film photography to watch this film.

For me, I’ve decided that for the first time in years, next month I will shoot a model completely on Impossible Project Polaroid 600 film. I’m looking forward to this shoot more than any other I have done in a serious amount of time. I have also been wondering for some time how I could make my 2nd California book different to the first. I am now starting to consider shooting a large portion of the book on Medium Format film as well as Impossible Project…

Thinking about film, and how I can implement it has kind of taken me back to where I started and in all honesty it has helped me regain my love for the art form which is photography.

More Negatives…

I have a huge box absolutely filled with folders of old 35mm and medium format film… Every few months I grab a few sleeves out and start to scan them in.

This is an architecture shot I found, which I believe was taken in Wolverhampton around 2001.

There’s something strange about looking at old photographs that you’ve forgotten about – you can recall taking them but really, you have no attachment to them what so ever…

Hopefully one day I’ll completed the project and have digital files of all of my old work.

Updates…

The above photograph was taken last month and it’s from a shoot for ‘Carnival’ with model Hollie Chekov.

We shot it in a large manor house just outside Kidderminster and I’ll be uploading the photos to my site very soon.

Speaking of which my site has undergone a dramatic change (I thought it was about time) and hopefully now the galleries and information are easier to view on all devices including iPhones and iPads.

Please take a look and let me know what you think…

www.carlbeebee.com

Thanks,

Carl.

More Negatives…

Had a spare couple of days this week so I’ve been scanning in (yet more) old negatives.

Found some pretty cool ones, including this one above which was taken in Woolacombe Bay, around 2002 I think.

I’ll try and post some more as I come across ones I like…

Dream

I don’t remember my dreams. I never have. When I wake, all I can remember is little snapshots of people, places and objects.

The interesting, obscure and the mundane. Like stills taken from a movie. This is what this project explores…

Screen shots from dreams…

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”

George Bernard Shaw

See the full set here.

Legs

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‘Legs’ is a series of images I completed a few weeks ago with the model Nicki Adam.

You can view the whole series by clicking here.

I’ve been interested in doing this project for a few years, ever since I shot ‘The Absent Murder Of The Mind’

I’ve said in previous posts that I like exploring the idea of anonymous portraits, where the face is hidden or not included. I spoke with Nicki about this, whom I’ve worked with for several years, and we decided to create this series. All of the photographs were shot in my house with very small lighting rigs.

Click here to see the full series ‘Legs’ 2011.